- The gist of this article
Your vascular system is always on “cruise control.” It is constantly and relentlessly busy to keep the flow of blood steady and at a constant speed. To maintain that optimum movement of your blood and lymph, it operates a “cruise-control” system, similar to that in modern cars. Masquelier’s OPCs facilitate this vascular cruise-control system, especially in the area of the network of the tiniest “micro” blood vessels, the hair-thin capillaries.
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The Fluid Matrix
Your body consists for some 60% of what most people would simply call “water.” A large part of this “water” functions as streams that carry all the substances we need for the body’s health or that must be eliminated as waste materials. Almost 100 years ago, the American scientist Walter B. Cannon coined the term “fluid matrix” for this “watery” part of our bodies to underscore that it is a highly organized system that has purpose, structure and function. Cannon concluded that main function of the fluid matrix in which our living body parts reside is the maintenance of the freedom and independence of our existence.
Your body overcomes multiple challenges
That our bodies can maintain their freedom and independence is quite amazing, because they exist in what Cannon described as “the presence of profoundly disturbing conditions either in the outer world or in our own organization.” By living our daily lives, we constantly expose our bodies to numerous challenges, such as immobility (sitting too long behind a desk or in an airplane or car), lack of essential nutrients (consuming foods devoid of bioactives), unbalanced dietary habits (too much carbohydrates and too little healthy fats and oils), chemicals that are foreign to our natural environment and the human body, oxidative stress (excess radiation from the sun), industrial waste, etc. etc.
Vis medicatrix naturae
Cannon found the robustness of the human body, the ability of living beings to maintain their own constancy, miraculous. He unconditionally acknowledged Hippocrates, the “father” of medicine, who proposed the idea that disease is primarily cured by natural powers, by a vis medicatrix naturae. This natural healing power implies the existence of means and modes of action which are ready to operate correctively when the normal state of the organism is upset. “The wonder,” so Cannon, “increases when we realize that the system is open, engaging in free exchange with the outer world, and that the structure itself is not permanent but is being continuously broken down by the wear and tear of action, and is continuously built up again by processes of repair.” [i]
The moving streams of blood and lymph
According to Cannon, the body’s “fluid matrix” plays a central role in its innate natural healing powers. “The cells of our bodies,” so Cannon, “are shut away from any chances to obtain directly food, water and oxygen from the distant larger environment, or to discharge into it the waste materials that result from activity. These conveniences for getting supplies and eliminating debris have been provided by the development of moving streams within the body itself – the blood and lymph streams. They work together to carry food, water and oxygen away from the moist surfaces of the body and to deliver these necessities to the cells situated even in the remotest nooks of our organism. From these cells in turn they bring back to the moist surfaces, in the lungs and kidneys, the useless waste of cellular activity which must be discharged.”
Homeostasis is cruise control
Cannon then coined a word that became household language in physiology and medicine: “homeostasis.” Even though the term is commonly and widely used, it is largely misunderstood as meaning a condition of motionless balance among various opposing forces.
But, according to Cannon, homeostasis should not be seen as an endpoint or outcome, but as a dynamic and constantly active interplay of numerous means and modes of action that work towards the establishment and maintenance of the optimum structure and function of the many systems that support the survival and health of our bodies.
In the simplest of terms, you may think of homeostasis as the cruise control system in your car. When activated, it keeps the car at a “set point” speed. In homeostasis, all functions of the body work towards such a “set point.” The body’s optimum temperature is a good exampled of such a “set point.” Each physiological “set point” is a datum that forms part of the body’s self-regulatory knowledge, or, as Cannon called it, the wisdom of the body.
To ensure adequate microvascular blood flow, blood pressure, blood distribution and perfusion, various physiological homeostatic mechanisms are dynamically and continuously taking place at the level of the microvasculature. The microvasculature connects the arteries filled with blood coming from the heart and the veins filled with blood streaming back to the heart. It is here that the exchange between blood and lymph and tissues takes place. In order to function optimally, the microvasculature works under the control of its own specific homeostasis. Since homeostasis is the effort of maintaining constancy and consistency of an optimal internal environment it takes place both in healthy and non-healthy subjects.
Masquelier’s OPCs facilitate microvascular homeostasis
Numerous pertinent human, animal and cell studies strongly support the claim that Masquelier’s OPCs can help maintain healthy microvascular structures and functions by positively acting on the microvasculature’s homeostasis. OPCs support the constituent network of the microvascular wall by protecting collagen and elastin fibers against degradation as well as enhancing synthesis of collagen and by combating inflammation and oxidative stress. Depletion or impairment of the microvascular homeostatic capacity may eventually find its expression in the various phenomena of endothelial dysfunction These phenomena can be observed in people undergoing the natural aging process as well as in diseased populations.
Masquelier’s OPCs relevant for everyone
Although Masquelier’s OPCs won’t stop or reverse the aging process, it has been shown to produce beneficial effects in populations suffering from the aforementioned microvascular disorders by facilitating the dynamic and unstoppable mechanisms of remodelling and self-repair that restore the microvascular homeostatic capacity and thereby balancing the “internal milieu” of the microvasculature. The effects of OPCs are robustly present in healthy and diseased populations, meaning that supplementation of the daily diet with Masquelier’s OPCs is relevant for healthy people as well as people suffering from vascular problems.